Today we were lucky enough to sit down and have an interview with editors of the ‘nEvermore!’ anthology, Nancy Kilpatrick and Caro Soles. Nancy “is an award-winning author and editor known for her dark fantasy/horror and mystery stories” who has 18 novels in publication and countless short stories while Caro is “best known for founding the Bloody Words Mystery Conference to highlight Canadian mystery writing” and has 11 novels under her name.
Hellnotes (HN): First, if you could both share a little about what ‘nEvermore!’ is about with our readers?
Nancy Kilpatrick (NK): nEvermore! is an homage to Edgar Allan Poe. Everyone loves Poe and the man was a ferocious genre crosser, who refused to be categorized. Most people think of “The Raven” and Poe did write a lot of dark fanasty/horror of the supernatural variety, but he is also considered the father of the modern detective story–even Arthur Conan Doyle attributes Sherlock Holmes to Poe’s story “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”. Poe also influences Jules Verne, Mark Twain and so many other writers. That’s what nEvermore! is really about, honoring the man who is at the roots of so much writing that we value today.
Caro Soles (CS): We wanted to showcase the many sides of Poe, not just the dark fantasy or supernatural part, or the mystery part or the frightening aspect but all of it!
HN: What encouraged you to create an Edgar Allan Poe inspired anthology?
NK: Caro and I were searching for a project to do together. We’ve been friends for a long time but we write in different genres. Poe seemed to be a natural subject because we love his work and it covers both our areas of interest.
CS: I think it was this very eclectic nature of Poe’s writing that made this anthology the perfect project for us to do together. Since we work in different areas in own writing, blending our expertise seemed perfect.
HN: How did you approach which tales were accepted into the anthology?
NK: I’ve been around this field forever and know quite a few horror/dark fantasy writers. I was trying to think of people who I knew loved Poe and would do him justice, so I asked people. Everyone included in the antho was more than eager to be part of this project. We also did a few collaborations, writers I knew had worked together before–that allowed us to include more writers than we have stories! Lastly, we ran a successful crowdfunding to pay writers a very decent wage in this current state of indecent wages in publishing. One perk was a chance to contribute a story. We’d planned on taking 3 stories but ended up with 4 because they were so good.
CS: It was really more a matter of which writers we wanted to invite to submit stories. I have edited quite a few anthologies in the mystery genre as well as science fiction. We both know a lot of writers. Everyone we approached was enthused by the idea of a Poe antho and we have ended up with stories by writers in many different genres, from literary to dark fantasy to horror to mystery. The result is a lovely mix!
HN: Which of Poe’s work do you each feel to be the most enjoyable and why?
NK: I have so many favorites it would be impossible to list them all. For poetry, I lean towards “Annabel Lee”, “The Raven” and “Eldorado”, all for different reasons. I could name 10 short stories but I’ll just go with “The Cask of Amontillado” because it’s just so utterly vicious! LOL!
CS: There are so many and for so many different reasons. The one I was introduced first remains the one I think of first when I think of Poe: “The Raven”. A poem, I know. But wonderful!
HN: How was co-editing on an anthology compare to working on solo work?
NK: I’ve co-edited anthos before, twice with Thomas Roche and once with Nancy Holder. I enjoy co-editing. I’s fun to have someone to bounce off. Two heads are definitely better and because every project has ups and downs, there’s someone who knows what’s going on who I can laugh and to scream with.
CS: I have never co-edited before and found that having someone to discuss things with was a real help. Sometimes someone who understands is invaluable!
HN: Is there any connection between Poe growing his mustache in his later years and the increased madness of his work?
NK: Ha! I suspect that as Poe grew older–life expectancy for a man born in 1809 in the US was, well, let’s just say most men were dead by the age of 50–he was suffering the usual aliments of old age. Add to this that he might have been addicted to alcohol and possibly been a user of opium, these could have taken a toll. But to me the largest factor of his growing grimness was the life circumstances under which he lived, the relentless losses of so many who were dear to him. He died two years after his wife, Virginia, died of TB, and she was the love of his life. I think she was the proverbial straw that tipped him over the edge into hopelessness.
CS: Perhaps the poor man just wanted a change! His life was pretty unremittingly grim, as Nancy points out.
HN: How do you feel Poe has helped shape the mystery and horror genres over the years? Do you have any thoughts on how Poe’s work was cited for inspiring much of Lovecraft’s ‘The Mountains of Madness’?
NK: In my view, Poe is the foundation of the horror/dark fantasy genres. Almost everything we read today derives from the work of this brilliant man who was not afraid to plumb the depths of his emotional life. And while many writers write emotionally, few can capture such dark passions–for example, the despair and the sheer horror that Poe wrote about, which he lived–in the way that Poe did and move readers.
He was a master story-teller. Just think about “The Raven” which is a story in poetic form. Grimm’s Fairytales were first published in 1812 but they were told long before that orally. Poe was born in 1809. He would have been influenced by fairytales. He starts “The Raven” ‘Once upon a midnight dreary…’ Fairytales often begin ‘Once upon a time…’ This is such a clever device for drawing in the reader in because we hear this ‘Once upon a…’ in childhood and it sets a mood of being told something imaginative. So, right from the get-go “The Raven” hooks us.
Poe was such a clever writer. He is more famous today than when he lived and that’s a testament to the beauty of his writing and the depth of his creativity. Every career writer that came after him has read Poe and surely Lovecraft had by the time he was writing in the early 1900s. But Lovecraft read extensively and there are many writers he might have been inspired by because he adored their work, and his correspondence makes that clear. If you’ve read H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds (1897), you’ll find in the description of the Martians a pretty good description of Cthulhu.
CS: I’m afraid I am not a Lovecraft fan and have read very little. However, Poe has influenced so many writers in so many different genres that I would imagine he influenced Lovecraft too. As for shaping the mystery field, he gave us the model of the detective story as we know it today with his “Murders in the rue Morgue”.
HN: Will you be working together again on any future anthologies or novels?
NK: I have no plans on that. I have other projects I want to pursue. But, never say never!
CS: I have certainly enjoyed working with Nancy but I have many projects piling up that I want to work on myself.
HN: What future projects do you have on the table?
NK: I’ve got a horror/dark fantasy novel I’ve been trying to finish for a year and have been way too busy to work on, and that delay has been driving me nuts. I’d planned on writing the second half of the book over this past summer but there’s been so much work involved with nEvermore!–from the crowdfunding to the editing to the promotion–that I just couldn’t find the time. I think we’ll be finished with the bulk of promotion for the antho by early 2016 and I can then get back to the novel. I also have a 7 book series, the first book of which is finished, and I want to get moving on selling that and rolling with this mega world I’ve created. Otherwise, a few short story commitments. And an antho another friend wants to do with me of a completely different nature, but that will be less of a big book and definitely will be my last antho for a while.
CS: I have been trying to get at my historical mystery Meeting Mister Nijinsky for a long time. It is finished but needs that final edit before it can go anywhere. That will keep me busy for quite a while.
HN: Do you have any other details that you’d like to share with our readers?>
NK: Only this: nEvermore! Tales of Murder, Mystery & the Macabre is not something readers have read before. It contains a wealth of stories that were inspired by the imagination of Edgar Allan Poe in the form of riffs on his stories and also unique tales that are Poe-like. These 22 original stories cross genres and that has not been done before in a Poe anthology. In the dark fantasy/horror field alone there are contributors in this book that everyone knows and loves: Kelley Armstrong; David Morrell; Chelsea Quinn Yarbro; RC Matheson; Nancy Holder; Christopher Rice; Tanith Lee; William F. Nolan; Lisa Morton;–the list goes on and on. You can find a full contributors’ list on amazon, and also at nevermoreantho.com.
We also are incredibly privileged to have an original Poe story from another genre-crosser, the great Margaret Atwood. If you love Poe, you will not be disappointed.
CS: nEvermore! Is a feast for readers. Dig in!
Award-winning author Nancy Kilpatrick has published eighteen novels, over two hundred short stories, and has edited fifteen anthologies, including the 2015 works Expiration Date, and nEvermore! Tales of Murder, Mystery & the Macabre. Her most recent short fiction can be found in the anthologies Searchers After Horror; The Darke Phantastique; Zombie Apocalypse: Endgame!; Blood Sisters: Vampire Stories by Women; The Madness of Cthulhu 2; Innsmouth Nightmares; Dreams From the Witch House; Gothic Lovecraft; Stone Skin Bestiary.
Caro Soles’ books include mysteries, erotica, gay lit and science fiction.
She received the Derrick Murdoch Award from the Crime Writers of Canada for her work in the mystery field and was short listed for the Lambda Literary Award. nEvermore! Tales of Murder, Mystery & the Macabre, co-edited with Nancy Kilpatrick, showcases stories influenced by Poe.